Meal planning is such a fabulous way to be organised with so many useful benefits, from saving money by wasting less, saving time and taking some of the stress out of an already busy schedule.
Yet so many people who try meal planning fail… Badly.
It’s not too surprising really. I’ve been there. Sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming planning life to so much detail. Not all of us are so good with strict routines and schedules.
But meal planning does not have to be so stressful or strict. It’s all about making it work for you. Here’s how:
1. BE FLEXIBLE
You’ve planned your meals for the next week, purchased ingredients and suddenly you get an invite out to dinner on taco Tuesday. No problem. A quick reshuffle and you can do both. Move your menu back a day or do some switching so you can go out for dinner and still make use of your fresh ingredients before they spoil.
2. COOK AHEAD
Some meals can be prepared a day or two in advance, or even frozen, so cook an extra meal or two earlier in the week to give yourself some time off one night. All you will need to do is heat, or defrost if freezer cooking. So nice not to spend a night in the kitchen.
3. LEFT OVER NIGHT
One of the complaints of meal planning is there is no room for leftovers so it either gets wasted, encourages smaller servings or becomes lunches. You can always have a left over or make your own dinner night each week to give yourself a break.
4. SHARE THE LOAD
Who says cooking from the meal plan is your responsibility alone? Have hubby or bigger kids/teens do their part in the kitchen each week by planning meals others can cook.
5. KEEP IT SIMPLE
Experimenting with a new recipe is great fun, but it can be time consuming. Save this for no more than once a week or less and on a night when you have extra time and energy up your sleeve, like on the weekend. Otherwise, have lots of easy family favourites on rotation.
6. QUICK & EASY IS OK
Sometimes we get caught up in that Martha Stewart perfect housewife fantasy and want to give our family a fancy, from scratch meal every night. It sounds fab but it’s a lot of pressure. Don’t feel guilty about using a recipe base or packet mix to save some time. Not everything needs to be from scratch. We ain’t perfect!
Reflecting on those tips, hopefully meal planning sounds a whole lot less stressful and easy now and putting them into place will help you to be successful in meal planning.
And to make your meal planning even easier, I have a fabulous meal planning and kitchen inventory printable set available for purchase.
What is your favourite family dinner?